It’s a world that values perks when tech startups — many that offer free lunches, workout classes, and nap pods to attract and retain top talent — acquired approximately $13 billion in venture capital funding in the first three quarters of 2014.
Many of these startups are working with a deep pool of investor money. They’re free to experiment with employee perks and lay on the lavish, like when Southern California-based Riot Games pumped in 10 tons of snow for a party,
Credit unions, however, are funded by member money. So although taking care of employees is important, certain extravagances are not in the cards. To determine the benefits most important to employees, consider the perks that will have the most influence.
Tower Federal Credit Union ($2.7B, Laurel, MD) is focusing on employee health. The credit union launched its Wealth of Wellness program in 2007 to give employees access to health initiatives at work and in turn reduce health risks and health insurance costs. It’s a voluntary program open to all employees who are eligible for benefits.
Since 2007, the program has received awards from the American Heart Association, Healthy Howard Workplaces (Tower has four branches in Howard County, MD), and the Baltimore Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers program. In 2011, Wealth of Wellness won an Innovation in Wellness award from the Howard County Health Department.
The credit union partners with a wellness consulting company to better understand the benefits and the logistics of a healthy work environment. With Wealth of Wellness, Tower offers
Free on-site employee health fairs.
Free annual biometric screenings.
Free flu shots.
Walking and exercise competitions open to the whole company.
Incentives for gym membership, weight management programs, and annual physical exams.
A few times a quarter, the credit union invites employees to Lunch & Learn events about a health-related topic. Becky Vogt, the human resources generalist who spends about 15% of her workweek overseeing the Wealth of Wellness program, chooses topics, and Tower’s health care provider contracts speakers for the lunches.
To provide high-quality services, Tower made a few brick-and-mortar investments in the program. The credit union built a fitness center and a health services room in its Laurel, MD, headquarters. The gym includes an elliptical machine, treadmill, two stationary bikes, yoga mats, fitness balls, free weights, and flat-screen TVs — everything an employee needs to have a workout — and after work hours, the credit union offers three fitness classes.
The health services room is a multifunctional private space for lactating mothers, sick employees, and nurse consultations during health fairs.
Approximately 40% of eligible employees are enrolled in Wealth of Wellness. For those who need a bit of encouragement, Tower offers employees health rewards points for completing wellness program activities that they can exchange for Visa gift cards.